Balanced Rocks

I came across this balanced rock as I researched material for my “Ancient America” posts.

Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY.jpg

Daniel Case at the English language Wikipedia [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY

Balanced Rock, North Salem, NY
10 July 2006

I wondered how this balancing feat was accomplished. Once again, I did some research and found out that there are two types of balanced rocks: man-made and naturally occurring.

Man-made Balanced Rocks

Some balanced rocks are made by people who engage in an art form called rock balancing. As the name implies, the rocks are held together by balance alone without the assistance of adhesives or other aids.

Source: “Rock balancing” – Wikipedia

Rock balancing (Counter Balance).jpg

By Leandro Inocencio (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rocks using counterbalance

Counter Balance
16 October 2012, 10:49:07


Stone Balancing Sunset.jpg

By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced stones at sunset

The photograph and the stone balancing acts are both my own. From beach stones at Fethiye, Turkey.
26 October 2011


Inukshuks on the Ottawa River.jpg

By see source (Flickr) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rocks by Ottowa sculptor John Ceprano

Inukshuks on the Ottawa River in July 2005. Ottawa sculpt[o]r, John Ceprano, stacks up rocks every summer into interesting and pleasing shapes.
23 July 2005

Rockbalance England.jpg

Rockbalancer at en.wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], from Wikimedia Commons

photo of balanced rock by Lila Higgins

Balanced by Lila Higgins June 2007 4 July 2007 (original upload date)

To get an idea of how this is done, here is a video of rock sculpture and balance artist Bill Dan at work in Sausalito, California:

Naturally Occurring Balanced Rocks

Mother Nature is also a rock balance artist. According to Wikipedia, a balanced rock, which is also known as a balancing rock or a precarious border, “is a naturally occurring geological formation featuring a large rock or boulder, sometimes of substantial size, resting on other rocks, bedrock or on glacial till.”

Glaciers are responsible for the creation of some balanced rocks. Glaciers can move boulders from one area to another or on to other rocks, resulting in what are called glacial erratics. Glacial action (as well as landslides and avalanches) can also create perched blocks, which are large rock fragments partially hanging over the side of a slope or hill.

Glacial erratic, Norber – – 1503348.jpg

Gordon Hatton [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

photo of a glacial erratic at Norber in Great Britain

Glacial erratic, Norber One of several hundred erratics which are spread across a low ridge at Norber, having been dumped there by a glacier which transported them from nearby Crummack Dale. This one sits nicely on a limestone plinth, and there is a theory that the erratics have protected the limestone underneath them from erosion. However there is some debate as to the natural erosion rate of the limestone compared to that which is protected.
12 August 2009


A079, Acadia National Park, Maine, USA, balanced rock, 2002.jpg

By Brian W. Schaller (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

balanced rock in Acadia National Park, Maine, USA

Acadia National Park, Maine, USA, balanced rock


A083, Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, balanced rock, 2004.jpg

By Brian W. Schaller (Own work) [FAL], via Wikimedia Commons

balanced rock in Big Bend National Park, USA

Big Bend National Park, Texas, USA, balanced rock


Pedra Montada.jpg

By Leandro da Fonseca (feita por mim) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Pedra Montada in Brazil

Pedra Montada, em Guararema [Brazil].
19 September 2007

Not all naturally occurring balanced rocks are held together by balance alone. Wikipedia further notes that “some formations known by this name only appear to be balancing but are in fact firmly connected to a base rock by a pedestal or stem.” Rocks resembling balanced rocks are created by wind, water, and/or chemical erosion. Mushroom or pedestal rocks, which I discussed in my “Wind Carvings” post, are examples of these “faux” balanced rocks. Other examples of “faux” balanced rocks are hoodoos, which are “pedestal rocks sitting on taller spire formations.”

Source: “Balancing Rock” – Wikipedia

Brimham Rocks 8.jpg

Penny Mayes [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Idol Rock - Brimham Rocks

Idol Rock – Brimham Rocks [Great Britain]
10 May 2004

Sphimx at Bisti badlands.jpg

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Sphinx?Uploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

 'The Sphinx' mushroom rock

‘The Sphinx’ mushroom rock.
In the Bisti Badlands — De-Na-Zin Wilderness Area.
Northwestern New Mexico.
26 February 2010, 16:30
Source: Sphinx?


Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah WSA, NM.jpg

By John Fowler from Placitas, NM, USA (Ah-Shi-Sle-PahUploaded by PDTillman) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area

Hoodoos at Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah Wilderness Area.
Rock formations in northwestern New Mexico.
“Lots of hoodoos there.”
28 June 2010, 14:52
Source: Ah-Shi-Sle-Pah


Bagildere Love Valley Cappadocia 1510862 3 4 Compressor HDR lvl rot1 Nevit.jpg

© Nevit Dilmen [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

hoodoos at "Love Valley" near Goreme, Cappadocia in Turkey

“Love Valley” near Göreme, Cappadocia (Turkey)
6 February 2014, 12:58:25

Before I go, here is a video showing more balanced rocks from around the world.



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America’s Ancient Past: Part 2

While America is not famous for its ancient past, it does have some interesting prehistoric stone structures as we saw in Part 1. This week we will travel a little further east and north to New England, which is the home of two puzzling megalithic sites: America’s Stonehenge and Gungywamp.

America’s Stonehenge

America’s Stonehenge is an archaeological site located in Salem, New Hampshire. In 1937, an insurance executive named William Goodwin purchased this site and called it Mystery Hill. In 1956, Robert Stone became the new owner of this property. He turned it into a tourist attraction and renamed it America’s Stonehenge in 1982.

Travel writer Brad Olsen provides a detailed description of this site in “The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England”:

On a hilltop in New Hampshire near the Massachusetts border are a series of low stone walls and cobbled rock chambers called America’s Stonehenge. The entire complex covers about 30 acres of hills and woodland, around which extends an apparently haphazard collection of walls interspersed with tall, triangular–shaped standing stones. The site’s central feature is “Mystery Hill,” situated on a single acre, which contains 22 stone chambers which can be characterized as dolmens, plus other megalithic features. Immediately surrounding the central site are upright stone monoliths aligned to predict prominent astronomical sightings.

Source: “The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England” by Brad Olsen – Perceptive Travel

America’s Stonehenge.jpg

Photo of part of America's Stonehenge (New Hampshire, United States), taken September 1993 by User:Stan Shebs

Photo of part of America’s Stonehenge (New Hampshire, United States), taken September 1993 by User:Stan Shebs

America’s Stonehenge.jpg

(WT-shared) Jtesla16 at wts wikivoyage [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

America's Stonehenge. , Salem (New Hampshire)

America’s Stonehenge. , Salem (New Hampshire)
17 June 2010


By Galibraryguy (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Ruins at America's Stonehenge, New Hampshire

Ruins at America’s Stonehenge, New Hampshire.
15 July 2005



Like America’s Stonehenge, Gungywamp is a private archaeological site. People who would like to see Gungywamp should contact the property owners before visiting it. Arrangements for a visit can also be made by contacting the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center, which “give tours with the permission of Gungywamp property owners” according to a Gungywamp virtual tour website.

Here is what visitors will see at Gungywamp courtesy of Wikipedia:

Gungywamp is an archaeological site in Groton, Connecticut, United States, consisting of artifacts dating from 2000-770 BC, a stone circle, and the remains of both Native American and colonial structures. Among multiple structural remains, of note is a stone chamber featuring an astronomical alignment during the equinoxes. Besides containing beehive chambers and petroglyphs, the Gungywamp site has a double circle of stones near its center, just north of two stone chambers. Two concentric circles of large quarried stones – 21 large slabs laid end to end are at the center of the site.

Source: “Gungywamp” – Wikipedia


By Randal J. (en:User:RJFerret) (Own work (own photo)) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Gungywamp stone circle

Gungywamp stone circle
2003-11-16, uploaded to English Wikipedia on July 25, 2006


Puzzling History

Unlike some historical places, America’s Stonehenge and Gungywamp did not remain untouched for thousands of years. Over time, various settlers moved in and out of these areas, and they used and modified these sites to suit their purposes. As a result, both sites contain a mishmash of artifacts and structures from varying time periods. For instance, Wikipedia notes that the charcoal pits of America’s Stonehenge date back to “2000 BC to 173 BC,” but the stones on the site are a lot younger:

Artifacts on the site lead archaeologists to the conclusion that the stones were actually assembled for a variety of reasons by local farmers in the 18th and 19th centuries. For example, a much-discussed ‘sacrificial stone’ which contains grooves that some say channeled blood closely resembles ‘lye-leaching stones’ found on many old farms that were used to extract lye from wood ashes, the first step in the manufacture of soap.”

Source: “America’s Stonehenge” – Wikipedia

Gungywamp also has a jumbled past. Consider the description provided by a travel website called Atlas Obscura:

The site, located in the Connecticut woods less than an hour away from New Haven, consists of multiple stone chambers, rings of stones, piles of rock, Native American artifacts, mysterious etchings, Lithic artifacts, Colonial artifacts, and hundreds or even thousands of years of various settlers adopting and rearranging the site, it is difficult to tell where one historical period ends and another begins.

Source: “Gungywamp” – Atlas Obscura

Origin Myth

painting of a monk by the sea by Caspar David Friedrich

Caspar David Friedrich, Der Mönch am Meer, Le Moine au bord de la mer
oil on canvas painted between 1808 and 1809

One origin myth common to both sites is the tale that they were built by Irish (Culdee) monks who came to America long before Christopher Columbus explored the New World. Based on the various articles I read, the reasons for these Irish monks settling in these areas vary from being shipwrecked to leaving Ireland in order to escape persecution from the Vikings. Brad Olsen even notes the Irish origins of the name Gungywamp: “The word ‘Gungywamp’ was originally thought to be an Indian word, but has another translation in Gaelic meaning ‘Church of the People.’”

To date, archaeologists have not found any physical evidence to support this story. In a Boston University Bridge article by Brian Fitzgerald, CAS Archaeology Professor Curtis Runnels states that “the theory that America’s Stonehenge was built by Celts in ancient times has absolutely no credibility.” His main reason for reaching this conclusion is that “‘no Bronze Age artifacts have been found there.’” He further adds that “‘in fact, no one has found a single artifact of European origin from that period anywhere in the New World.’”


“The Mysterious Stone Chambers of New England” by Brad Olsen – Perceptive Travel

“Stonehenge in America? : Archaeology professor debunks claims for ancient rock structures as pseudoscientific fallacy” by Brian Fitzgerald – Boston University Bridge

The Atlas Obscura website notes that this is also the case for Gungywamp:

To add to this the site attracts what might be called archeological conspiracy theories. Among the most popular of these theories (one that crops up at multiple stone sites in the Northeast, see America’s Stonehenge) is that the site is a pre-Colombian settlement build by 6th-century Celtic Christian monks who escaped Ireland to avoid Norse aggression.


While it is easy to dismiss this theory, the confirmation of pre-columbian Norse contact in Newfoundland, and the increasing likelihood that Polynesians may have had contact in South America make it increasingly more difficult to dismiss it out of hand. Nonetheless no findings confirming the theory have ever been found by any credible linguists, epigraphers, or archaeologists, making it still a fringe theory at best.

Source: “Gungywamp” – Atlas Obscura

America’s Stonehenge Hoaxes

Two hoaxes have further obscured the origins of America’s Stonehenge. The first hoax involved William Goodwin. He was so convinced of the truth of the story that Irish monks built America’s Stonehenge that he decided to rearrange the stones on the site to prove the validity of the story:

The site’s history is muddled partly because of the activities of William Goodwin, who became convinced that the location was proof that Irishmonks (the Culdees) had lived there long before the time of Christopher Columbus, a concept he sought to publicize. The site has been altered by stone quarrying and by the efforts of Goodwin and others to move the stones to what they considered their original locations, with Goodwin perhaps responsible for much of what can now be seen. Many of the stones have post 1830s drill marks from the quarrying that took place on the site.

Source: “America’s Stonehenge” – Wikipedia

The second hoax involved Barry Fell. According to Wikipedia, the “late Barry Fell, a marine biologist from Harvard University and amateur epigrapher, claimed that inscriptions at the site represented markings in Ogham (an alphabet used to write the Early and Old Irish languages), Phoenician and Iberian scripts, which he also called Iberian-Punic.” Brian Fitzgerald notes that archaeologists questioned the authenticity of these scripts and other findings that Fell outlined in a book called America B.C. :

However, America B.C. was ridiculed by most archaeologists, many of whom noted the similarities between Fell’s so-called “epigraphs” and scrape marks made by plowshares and tree roots.

Other finds highlighted in Fell’s book, such as the Davenport calendar stone (supposedly containing Egyptian hieroglyphics) in Iowa, and the “Iberian” inscription in Grave Creek, W.V., are widely considered among archaeologists to be frauds.


“America’s Stonehenge” – Wikipedia

“Stonehenge in America? : Archaeology professor debunks claims for ancient rock structures as pseudoscientific fallacy” by Brian Fitzgerald – Boston University Bridge


Rearranged and reinvented over the years, America’s Stonehenge and Gungywamp remain surrounded by an air of mystery. Can these sites be considered significant archaeological discoveries despite their mixed up history (and the hoaxes in the case of America’s Stonehenge), or are they no better than theme parks with really old rocks?

While the historical significance of America’s Stonehenge and Gungywamp is subject to debate, these sites brought a troubling observation clearly into focus for me. After reflecting upon these sites, I see how easy it is for people to be indifferent to the past. For instance, an article called “Gungywamp, Groton” notes that the colonists used the chambers at Gungywamp as root cellars. This fact seems to indicate that most of the colonists were not really concerned about what the chambers were used for before they arrived there. From their perspective, the chambers were important as places that satisfied an immediate need for food storage.

The historical sites in Part 1 also gave me a similar impression of people being oblivious to the past. After learning that the top of Grave Creek Mound was once home to a dance platform, I am now haunted by an image of local West Virginians of the time literally dancing upon the graves of the ancient people buried in the mound. How many of them actually knew they were doing this?

While I can easily observe this mindset in past generations, I now realize that I am guilty of being oblivious to the past too. What remnants of the past lie beneath my house, the roads I drive on, or the building that I work at? I do not know, and I do not think about them when I am caught up in the everyday cares of my existence. Perhaps it is human nature to be more concerned about the present than the past. If this is the case, then I should not be surprised if more oblivious dancing over graves should occur a hundred or a thousand years from now.

Source: “Gungywamp, Groton” by Ray Bendici – Damned Connecticut


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America’s Ancient Past: Part 1

This week’s post is dedicated to my fellow WordPress blogger Ed Mooney, who has a fantastic photography blog primarily about ruins in Ireland. In an exchange of comments on one of his posts, we ended up talking about ancient finds in the United States. I did not know much about them and became interested in finding out more about them. Thanks for the inspiration, Ed! :)


The United States may be only a few hundred years old, but North America has a much longer history. In lands that are now part of the United States, remnants of the Mound Builders’ civilizations continue to fascinate archaeologists and the general public.

The Mound Builders

The Mound Builders consisted of cultures that existed in North America long before Europeans began exploring the continent. According to Wikipedia, these cultures are divided into three categories:

  • Pre-Columbian cultures of the Archaic Period (around 8000 to 2000 BCE)
  • Adena and Hopewell cultures of the Woodland Period (roughly 1000 BCE to 1000 CE)
  • Cultures living in regions of the Great Lakes, the Ohio Valley, and Mississippi River valley and its tributaries during the Mississippian Period (roughly 3400 BCE to the 16th century CE)

As their name implies, the Mound Builders built earthworks, which are earthen mounds used for various purposes. According to The Columbia Encyclopedia, “many served as burial mounds, individual or collective funerary monuments,” while “others were temple mounds, platforms for religious structures.” Wikipedia also notes that these “burial and ceremonial structures were typically flat-topped pyramids or platform mounds, flat-topped or rounded cones, elongated ridges, and sometimes a variety of other forms.” Some Mound Builders also made effigy mounds, which Wikipedia describes as mounds that “were constructed in the shapes or outlines of culturally significant animals.”


“Archaic period in North America” – Wikipedia “Mound Builders” – The Columbia Encyclopedia

“Mound Builders” – Wikipedia “Woodland period” – Wikipedia

Several areas where the Mound Builders once lived are now historic sites. This week’s post will feature four of these sites: Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site, Fort Ancient, and the Criel and Grave Creek Mounds in West Virginia.

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site

Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site is located in Illinois. Here is a brief description of this site by Discover Magazine reporters Karen Wright and Grant Delin:

The 4,000-acre complex preserves the remnants of the largest prehistoric settlement north of Mexico, a walled city that flourished on the floodplain of the Mississippi River 10 centuries ago. . . . A thousand years ago, no one could have missed Cahokia—a complex, sophisticated society with an urban center, satellite villages, and as many as 50,000 people in all. Thatched-roof houses lined the central plazas. Merchants swapped copper, mica, and seashells from as far away as the Great Lakes and the Gulf of Mexico. Thousands of cooking fires burned night and day. And between A.D. 1000 and 1300, Cahokians built more than 120 earthen mounds as landmarks, tombs, and ceremonial platforms.

Source: “Uncovering America’s Pyramid Builders” – Discover Magazine

Cahokia site.jpg

By Varing (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Cahokia site illustration

Cahokia 18 April 2014, 01:46:26

Monks Mound is the largest of the Cahokia mounds that still stands today. According to Wikipedia, it is ”a massive platform mound with four terraces, 10 stories tall, and the largest man-made earthen mound north of Mexico.”

Source: “Cahokia” – Wikipedia

Cahokia Monks Mound.jpg

By (WT-shared) Ethajek at wts wikivoyage (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Cahokia Monks Mound

Monk’s Mound in Cahokia
9 January 2010 (original upload date)


Monk’s mound panorama.jpg

By TimVickers (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Monks Mound Panorama

Monk’s Mound a Pre-Columbian earthwork, located at the Cahokia site near Collinsville, Illinois

Besides mounds, Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site has an “American Woodhenge.” It is a timber circle with the “placement of posts [that] marked solstices and equinoxes,” and it was reconstructed using the original post holes found on the site.

Mound 72 Woodhenge diagram HRoe 2013.jpg

Herb Roe [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Cahokia Woodhenge diagram

A diagram of solstice and equinox sunset and sunrise positions at the Mound 72 Woodhenge at the Cahokia Mounds site near Collinsville, Illinois, USA.
28 March 2013



Drpaluga at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Reconstructed American Woodhenge at Cahokia

Photo by Nathaniel Paluga of the reconstructed American Woodhenge at en:Cahokia
28 March 2009 (original upload date)

Here are some examples of artifacts found at the Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site:

Keller figurine.jpg

By TimVickers (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Keller Figurine found at Cahokia Mounds site

Pre-Colombian art, from Cahokia Mounds site


(Man smoking from frog pipe) effigy pipe HRoe-2010.jpg

By Heironymous Rowe (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Effigy pipe of male figure crouching and smoking from a frog effigy pipe found at Cahokia

Effigy pipe of male figure crouching and smoking from a frog effigy pipe. Made of red flint clay from Cahokia. The pipe is 20.5 centimeters high and 36.5 centimeters long. Click to enlarge and see back of pipe. It is on display at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History, University of Oklahoma.
5 July 2010


Cahokia Birdman tablet HRoe 2012.jpg

Herb Roe [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Cahokia Birdman tablet

An illustration of an avian themed Mississippian culture incised sandstone tablet with an S.E.C.C. “Birdman”. The tablet was found in 1971 during excavations into the east side of Monks Mound at Cahokia. It measures approximately 4 inches (10 cm) in height.
28 April 2012


Fort Ancient

Fort Ancient is located in Ohio. In a Free Republic article, Bob Downing describes Fort Ancient as follows:

The site, atop a wooded bluff 235 feet above the Little Miami River in Warren County, was built 2,000 years ago by ancient Indians that archaeologists call Hopewells. The intricate mounds stretch nearly 3 ½ miles and enclose about 100 acres atop a promontory on the east bank of the river in Washington Township. The earthen walls are as high as 23 feet and as wide as 68 feet. The walls are divided by 67 crescent-shaped gateways. There are stone pavements in some places. Some call Fort Ancient Ohio’s Stonehenge, and it is one of Ohio’s top prehistoric sites.


Source: “Ohio’s Stonehenge” – Free Republic


Photo by Andrew Sawyer a.k.a. Asawyer sunwatch.
w:en:Image:SunWatchVillage.jpg by Asawyer sunwatch, 10/12/2006 14:00 (UTC)

Partially reconstructed Fort Ancient settlement at SunWatch Indian Village SunwAtch Indian Village.

Partially reconstructed Fort Ancient settlement at SunWatch Indian Village.

The most famous mound built by the Fort Ancient people is the Serpent Mound (also called the Great Serpent Mound). The Arc of Appalachia Preserve System describes the Serpent Mound as “the largest surviving example of a prehistoric effigy mound in the world.” According to Wikipedia, “including all three parts, the Serpent Mound extends about 1,370 feet (420 m), and varies in height from less than a foot to more than three feet (30–100 cm).”


“What Is Serpent Mound?” – Arc of Appalachia Preserve System

“Serpent Mound” – Wikipedia

Serpent Mound (aerial view).jpg

By Timothy A. Price and Nichole I.; uploaded by the authors. (Part of the archive Image:Serpent Mound.jpg) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Aerial view of the Great Serpent Mound

View of the The Great Serpent Mound, one of the most important prehistoric effigy mounds of Adena Culture, located on the Ohio river, Ohio, USA.
Stump in March of 2002


Serpent Mound1 HRoe 2005.jpg

Heironymous Rowe at en.wikipedia [CC-BY-SA-3.0, GFDL, GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], from Wikimedia Commons

Serpent Mound

A photo of Serpent Mound in Peebles Ohio
2005 (14 September 2008 (original upload date))

Here are some examples of artifacts found at Fort Ancient:

Buffalo style mask gorget Ohio HRoe 2010 01.jpg

By Herb Roe, (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia Commons

Mississippian Shell gorget from a Fort Ancient site in Ohio

Mississippian Shell gorget from a Fort Ancient site in Ohio, now at the Southern Ohio Museum and Cultural Center in Portsmouth, Ohio 18 August 2010


Ft Ancient Pottery HRoe 2005.jpg

Herb Roe [CC-BY-SA-3.0 or GFDL], from Wikimedia Commons

A pot from a Fort Ancient culture site in Ohio

A pot from a Fort Ancient culture site in Ohio.
2008-09-23 (original upload date)
(Original text : 2008)


West Virginia Mounds

West Virginia has two noteworthy burial mounds: the Criel Mound and the Grave Creek Mound. Both started out conical in shape, but changes were made to both mounds over time. For instance, the Criel Mound underwent flattening in the 1800s. According to Wikipedia, “residents of the area leveled the top in 1840 to erect a judges’ stand, as they ran horse races around the base of the mound at the time.” The West Virginia Archives & History website notes that “during the last two hundred years” the top of Grave Creek Mound “has been home to a saloon, dance platform, and artillery pieces during the Civil War.”

Despite suffering wear and tear over the years, both mounds remain large structures. Here is some additional information about the dimensions of both mounds from Wikipedia:

The Criel Mound is a Native American burial mound located in South Charleston, West Virginia, USA. The mound was built by the Adena culture, probably around 250-150 BC, and lay equidistant between two “sacred circles”, earthwork enclosures each 556 feet (169 m) in diameter. It was originally 33 feet (10 m) high and 173 feet (53 m) in diameter at the base, making it the second-largest such burial mound in the state of West Virginia.


Source: “Criel Mound” – Wikipedia


Grave Creek Mound is the largest conical type of any of the mound builder structures. Construction of the mound took place in successive stages from about 250-150 B.C., as indicated by the multiple burials at different levels within the structures. In 1838, road engineers measured its height at 69 feet (21 m) and its base as 295 feet (90 m). Originally a moat of about 40 feet (12 m) in width and five feet in depth, with one causeway across it, encircled the mound.


Source: “Grave Creek Mound” – Wikipedia

Since they served as burial mounds, it is no surprise that human remains and some artifacts were found inside of them. According to the West Virginia Archives & History website, two skeletons were initially found in excavations of the Criel Mound by Professor P. W. Norris of the Smithsonian Institute in 1883 and 1884, and further digging revealed “numerous other skeletons . . . , including a burial vault containing the remains of eleven Native Americans thought to have been killed in battle.” The West Virginia Archives & History website adds the grim detail that there “was also evidence that some may have been buried alive.”

Sadly, the Grave Creek Mound was not as carefully excavated as the Criel Mound. The West Virginia Archives & History website describes how “Jesse and Abelard Tomlinson, and Thomas Briggs gutted the mound, destroying much of the archaeological evidence provided by the scientific study of other mounds” in 1838. Inside the mound, the “two men (the website does not specify which two) discovered a burial chamber in the center containing two skeletons and [a] large amount of jewelry and another room with one skeleton and jewelry.” In addition, Wikipedia notes that later archaeological researchers also found “a small sandstone tablet” inside the Grave Creek Mound (the Grave Creek Stone), and the “authenticity of the tablet and the meaning of its inscription is quite controversial.”


“Criel Mound” – Wikipedia “Grave Creek Mound” – Wikipedia

“Mounds & Mound Builders” – West Virginia Archives & History

Criel Mound.jpg

By David G. Simpson (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Criel Mound in South Charleston, West Virginia, USA

The Criel Mound in South Charleston, West Virginia, USA.
12 February 2006


Grave Creek Mound.jpg

By Tim Kiser (w:User:Malepheasant) (Own work (self-made photograph)) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, West Virginia

Grave Creek Mound in Moundsville, West Virginia
20 December 2006


Grave Creek Stone and wax cast.jpg

By Smithsonian Institution [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons Source:

Original Grave Creek Stone and cast

The Grave Creek Stone beside a plaster cast of the stone in the Smithsonian Museum of National History’s collection.
16 December 2012, 23:46:08

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Happy Fourth of July

This Friday is the Fourth of July, which is also called Independence Day. The Fourth of July is the day that the Continental Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence and formally told the world of the Thirteen Colonies’ intent to separate from British rule. You can read more about the history of the Fourth of July on

I hope you enjoy this selection of America-themed photos that I put together in honor of this special national holiday. Some of these photos were actually taken on a Fourth of July, but some were not.


Fourth of July fireworks behind the Washington Monument, 1986.jpg

By Camera Operator: SSGT. LONO KOLLARS [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument.

A Fourth of July fireworks display at the Washington Monument. Location: WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA (DC) UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (USA) Date: 4 July 1986

US Navy 050704-N-3019M-002 Fireworks explode over the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) as part of the 4th of July celebrations at Naval Station Pearl Harbor.jpg

By U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Fireworks explode over the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) as part of the 4th of July celebrations at Naval Station Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor, Hawaii (July 4, 2005) – Fireworks explode over the guided missile frigate USS Crommelin (FFG 37) as part of the 4th of July celebrations at Naval Station Pearl Harbor. Morale, Welfare and Recreation (MWR) hosted a block party for Sailors, which included live entertainment, food and games in celebration of America’s 229th birthday. U.S. Navy photo by Journalist 3rd Class Ryan C. McGinley (RELEASED)

Red, White, and Blue

Big new FDNY fireboat helps celebrate the 4th of July -a.jpg

By Tom Babich from Fair Lawn, USA (FIREBOAT) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Big new FDNY fireboat helps celebrate the 4th of July

4 July 2013, 20:05

Additional Information: Source: FIREBOAT

US Navy 080604-N-2984R-062 Sailors wave and throw red, white, and blue streamers onto the pier after the announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was moored.jpg

By U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Ricardo Reyes [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sailors wave and throw red, white, and blue streamers onto the pier after the announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was moored

Norfolk, Va. (June 4, 2008) Sailors wave and throw red, white, and blue streamers onto the pier after the announcement that the aircraft carrier USS Harry S. Truman (CVN 75) was moored. Truman returned to homeport after a scheduled seven-month combat deployment supporting maritime security operations in the Mediterranean Sea and Persian Gulf as well as providing close air support for ground forces serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Third Class Ricardo Reyes (Released)

Sailors and Marines display the national ensign. (9218500978).jpg

By Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of America MC3 Chelsea Mandello/U.S. Navy (Sailors and Marines display the national ensign.) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Sailors and Marines display the national ensign.

RED SEA (June 4, 2013) Sailors and Marines display the national ensign in honor of Independence Day aboard the amphibious assault ship USS Kearsarge (LHD 3). Kearsarge is the flagship for the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group and, with the embarked 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit (26th MEU), is deployed in support of maritime security operations and theater security cooperation efforts in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Chelsea Mandello/Released) 130704-N-XZ031-272

Additional Information:

Join the conversation

Source: Sailors and Marines display the national ensign.

Author: Official U.S. Navy Page from United States of America MC3 Chelsea Mandello/U.S. Navy

Patriotic Human Formations

The Work of Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas

In 1918, photographers Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas took these unusual photos of well-known American symbols composed of thousands of soldiers. The Huffington Post notes that these photos were supposed to “get support for the first World War.”

As you can imagine, these photo shoots were no easy task. For instance, the summer heat took its toll during the photo shoot for the “Human Statue of Liberty” picture taken at Camp Dodge in Johnston, Iowa. According to The Huffington Post, “The Fort Dodge Messenger reported that a number of men, who were unfortunately dressed in regulation wool uniforms, fainted as the temperature crept toward an unholy 105 degrees.”

The following pictures are not the only human formation photos that Mole and Thomas took during World War I. You can see additional images at “Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas’ WWI Portraits Made From People At Carl Hammer Gallery In Chicago” and at the web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery.


“Arthur Mole” – Wikipedia

“Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas’ WWI Portraits Made From People At Carl Hammer Gallery In Chicago” – The Huffington Post

MPH 56, Human Statue of Liberty.jpg

By Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas, 915 Medinah Bldg., Chicago, Illinois. [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Human Statue of Liberty

This INCREDIBLE picture was taken in 1918. It is 18,000 men preparing for war in a training camp at Camp “Dodge”, in Iowa. EIGHTEEN THOUSAND MEN!!!!!
FACTS: Base to Shoulder: 150 feet Right Arm: 340 feet Widest part of arm holding torch: 12 1/2 feet Right thumb: 35 feet Thickest part of body: 29 feet Left hand length: 30 feet Face: 60 feet Nose: 21 feet Longest spike of head piece: 70 feet Torch and flame combined: 980 feet Number of men in flame of torch: 12,000 Number of men in torch: 2,800 Number of men in right arm: 1,200 Number of men in body, head and balance of figure only: 2,000
Total men: 18,000

Additional Information:

This image and similar photographs by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas: Arthur S. Mole was a British-born commercial photographer who worked in Zion, Illinois. During and shortly after World War I, Mole traveled with his partner John D. Thomas from one military camp to another, posing thousands of soldiers to form gigantic patriotic symbols that they photographed from above. The formations depicted such images as the Liberty Bell, the Statue of Liberty, the Marine Corps emblem and a portrait of President Woodrow Wilson. The Wilson portrait, for example, was formed using 21,000 officers and men at Camp Sherman in Ohio and stretched over 700 feet. His “Human Liberty Bell” was composed from over 25,000 soldiers, arranged with Mole’s characteristic attention to detail to even depict the crack in the bell. Mole and Thomas spent a week or more preparing for these immense works, which were taken from a 70 or 80 foot tower with an 11 by 14 inch view camera. When the demand for these photographs dropped in the 1920s, Mole returned to his photography business in Zion.

This picture, as well as additional photographs produced in the same style by Mole & Thomas and other photographers (and featuring the patriotic themes mentioned in the preceding paragraph), can be viewed at the web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery.

The Human U.S. Shield.jpg

By Arthur Samuel Mole [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

The Human U.S. Shield

The Human U.S. Shield, 30.000 Men at Camp Custer, Michigan

Additional Information: Source:

Camp Gordon Atlanta GA 1918.jpg

By photographer name illegible ( [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

"The Human American Eagle" formed by 12,500 military officers and men at Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia in 1918, during World War I

“The Human American Eagle” formed by 12,500 military officers and men at Camp Gordon, Atlanta, Georgia in 1918, during World War I
1918 (date in image)

Additional Information:

Editor’s Note: The web site of Chicago’s Carl Hammer Gallery identifies this photo as one taken by Arthur S. Mole and John D. Thomas.



Filed under Blogging, culture, photography

Storybook Photos

The photos in this week’s post reminded me of scenes from classic fairy tales and other stories that I read as a child. While these photos look like they are out of a storybook, they depict real places, people, plants, and animals.


By Tuxyso / Wikimedia CommonsCC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Moyland Castle, side view.

Date: 9 June 2013, 13:24:01

Additional Information:

Moyland Castle is a medieval moated castle located in Germany with a history that dates back to the early 14th century. Today it is a museum.

Source: Museum Schloss Moyland Website

Gate to Fort Santiago.jpg

By Jsinglador (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Fort Santiago, Intramuros, Manila
Philippine Historical Marker.png

This is a photo of Cultural Heritage Monument in the Philippines number PH-00-0091

Date: 15 October 2011, 08:31:13

Saskatchewan Farm Elevator.jpg

By Saffron Blaze (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

A small grain elevator on a farm near Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, Canada.

Date: 2 July 2006

Enchanted Forest (3342405326).jpg

By Marcus Quigmire from Florida, USA (Enchanted ForestUploaded by Princess Mérida) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Enchanted Forest

Date: 8 March 2009, 20:25

Source: Enchanted Forest

Wildpferde Tripsdrill.jpg

Robin Müller [CC-BY-SA-2.0-de], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

“Wild” horses in the Erlebnispark Tripsdrill wildlife and theme park near Cleebronn in Southern Germany.

Date: 31 October 2007

Adansonia grandidieri04.jpg

By Bernard Gagnon (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Grandidier’s Baobab, picture taken near Morondava, Madagascar.

Date: 14 March 2007


By Sh1019 (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Hupao (“Dreaming of the Tiger”) Spring in Hangzhou, China

Date: 23 June 2007

Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de La Blanca, Cardejón, España, 2012-09-01, DD 02.JPG

By Poco a poco (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Field of sunflowers (Helianthus annuus) with the church of Nuestra Señora de La Blanca in the background, Cardejón, Spain

Date: 1 September 2012, 11:44:50

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Photo Credit: Pike med blomsterkrans, Karin Beate Nosterud.jpg
By Karin Beate Nøsterud/ [CC-BY-2.5-dk], via Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the first day of summer and the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere. It is a time of celebration in many parts of the world. Regions of Northern Europe, especially Scandinavia and the Baltics, welcome the arrival of summer with Midsummer holidays that usually occur between June 21 and June 25. For these countries, Midsummer is a significant event. In fact, Visit Sweden, Sweden’s official website for tourism and travel information, describes Midsummer as “the most important holiday in the Swedish calendar” next to Christmas.

Like Christmas, Midsummer combines pagan rituals with Christian beliefs. It often includes a celebration of the feast day of St. John the Baptist on June 24th, which is also known as St. John’s Day.


Maypoles are not just for May. Some Midsummer festivals include dancing around a maypole. Encyclopaedia Britannica notes that maypole dances “are survivals of ancient dances around a living tree as part of spring rites to ensure fertility” and that they can “occur at midsummer in Scandinavia and at other festivals elsewhere.”


By Markus Bernet (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Maypole (midsommarstång) on Gålö, Sweden

Date: 21 June 2008

Midsommar på Årsnäs.png

By Mikael Häggström (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Midsummer celebration at Årsnäs, by the coast from Kode, Solberga församling.

Date: June 2005

Bonfires and More

Lighting a bonfire to ward off evil spirits is a common Midsummer practice. Another one is to jump over a bonfire for good luck or good health.

Midsummer bonfire.jpg

By Janne Karaste (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Midsummer festival bonfire (Mäntsälä, Finland)

Date: 20 June 2003


By Petritap (Own work) [CC-BY-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Traditional Midsummer Night Festival bonfire in Lappeenranta, Finland

Other festivities can occur around the bonfires.

National costumes Finland.jpg

By ninara (Flickr: IMG_8673) [CC-BY-SA-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Seurasaari Midsummer Bonfires, Helsinki, Finland. Folk dancers wearing national costumes

Date: 22 June 2012, 21:57:37

Source: Flickr: IMG_8673

Flower Wreaths

Flower wreaths are an important part of many Midsummer celebrations. Some wreaths are decorations, while others are involved in various Midsummer rituals. Flower wreaths are usually worn by girls and women. However, in Latvia, men wear wreaths made of oak leaves.

Midsummer Crown.jpg

By Bengt Nyman (Flickr: IMG_7085-1) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Midsummer Crown, Vaxholm, Sweden, 2009

Date: 19 June 2009, 14:12:01

Source: Flickr: IMG_7085-1

173366 Midsummer.jpg

By Magic Madzik (Flickr: 173/366: Midsummer) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

June 21st 173/366

It’s an ancient Slavic tradition to send flower wreaths floating down the river on the Solstice. Today, it’s not just maidens that do it- and in Warsaw, we take it to the extreme with a ‘wianek’ of epic proportions which we let go into the Vistula. Hooray Midsummer!

Date: 21 June 2008, 19:45:24

Source: Flickr: 173/366: Midsummer

Midsummer Magic

While Midsummer is a time for everyone to relax and enjoy life, it is a magical moment for young people, especially young girls looking for love. Midsummer is filled with romantic superstitions. For instance, young girls in Norway and unmarried women in Finland place flowers under their pillows during Midsummer to dream of their future husbands. In some parts of Romania, Midsummer celebrations consist of Sânziene rituals that incorporate both fertility themes and fortune-telling. Wikipedia describes these rituals as follows:

The folk practices of Sânziene imply that the most beautiful maidens in the village dress in white and spend all day searching for and picking flowers, of which one MUST be Galium verum (Lady’s bedstraw or Yellow bedstraw) which in Romanian is also named “Sânziànă”. Using the flowers they picked during the day, the girls braid floral crowns which they wear upon returning to the village at nightfall. There they meet with their beloved and they dance around a bonfire. The crowns are thrown over the houses, and whenever the crown falls, it is said that someone will die in that house; if the crown stays on the roof of the house, then good harvest and wealth will be bestowed upon the owners. As with other bonfire celebrations, jumping over the embers after the bonfire is not raging anymore is done to purify the person and also to bring health.

Another folk belief is that during the Sânziene Eve night, the heavens open up, making it the strongest night for magic spells, especially for the love spells . . .


Galium verum 002.JPG

By H. Zell (Own work) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Galium verum, Rubiaceae, Lady’s Bedstraw, Yellow Bedstraw, flowers; Karlsruhe, Germany. The plant is used in homeopathy as remedy: Galium verum (Gali-v.)

Date: 30 May 2009

Cricau Festival 2013 – Sanziene – 24.jpg

By Saturnian (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Sânzienele at Cricău Festival 2013

Date: 22 June 2013, 18:54:24

Even though you may not have any elaborate rituals planned for the summer solstice, I hope your first day of summer is a wonderful one. :)


“Maypole Dance” – Encylopaedia Britannica

“Midsummer” –

“Midsummer” – Wikipedia

“Sânziană” – Wikipedia

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Beautiful and Bizarre Butterflies and Moths

Butterflies and moths are part of the same order of insects called Lepidoptera, which means “scaly wing.” The number of species of butterflies and moths is amazingly large. The Lepidopterists’ Society states that there are about 150,000 “described” species of butterflies and moths but notes that the “actual number of Lepidoptera in the world is considerably larger (estimates run anywhere from 250,000 to 400,000), as there are many species which have yet to be described, particularly in the tropical regions of the world.” With 130,000+ moth species and under 20,000 butterfly species, moths easily outnumber butterflies.

With such a wide variety of butterflies and moths existing in the world, it was not difficult to find photos of some unusual species of butterflies and moths to include in this week’s post.

Mimicking Moths

Hummingbird Hawk-Moth
(Macroglossum stellatarum)

According to Wikipedia, the hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) “is distributed throughout the northern Old World from Portugal to Japan, but is resident only in warmer climates (southern Europe, North Africa, and points east).”

Macroglossum stellatarum.jpg

By Michal Maňas (User:snek01) (Own work) [GFDL, CC-BY-3.0 or CC-BY-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Photo of Macroglossum stellatarum (Linnaeus, 1758) on Zinnia violacea (syn. Z. elegans). hummingbird hawk moth (a moth, not a bird).

Date: 16 August 2003

IC Macroglossum stellatarum1 NR.jpg

By IronChris (Wikipedia. See other versions) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC-BY-SA-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Lepidoptera – Sphingidae – Macroglossum stellatarum. This image has been created to improve the noise of the original for FPC on the English Wikipedia. Noise reduction has been performed with Neatimage.

Date: July 7th, 2006. Rhône, France.

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-Moth (Hemaris tityus)

Wikipedia describes the narrow-bordered bee hawk-moth (Hemaris tityus) as “one of two similar species of sphingid moth occurring in Britain that closely mimic a bumblebee. It has a wide range, from Ireland across temperate Europe to the Ural Mountains, western Siberia, Novosibirsk and the Altai.”

H tityus M Kutera Kielce Upland.jpg

By M kutera (Own work Marcin Kutera) [GFDL or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Narrow-bordered Bee Hawk-moth

Date: 2010

Spots and Numbers

Giant Leopard Moth (Hypercompe scribonia)

Wikipedia notes that the giant leopard moth (Hypercompe scribonia) “is distributed throughout the Southern and Eastern United States from New England to Mexico.”

LeopardMothBlueSpots edit2.jpg

By Kevincollins123 (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Hypercompe scribonia

Giant leopard moth found at 1AM near a light bulb in Newport News, Virginia.

Date: 19 May 2008

Anna’s Eighty-eight Butterfly (Diaethria anna)

Wikipedia describes Anna’s Eighty-eight (Diaethria anna) as a butterfly that lives “in wet tropical forests in Central America and South America. On rare occasions, it can be found as a stray in south Texas.”

Eighty-eight Butterfly (Diaethria anna).JPG

By Charlesjsharp (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Eighty-eight Butterfly (Diaethria anna). Photograph taken above the Iguazú Falls in Argentina using a Canon EOS300D and Canon 55mm EF lens with Skylight 1B filter.

Date: 18 March 2012

Living Like Dead Leaves

Dead Leaf Butterfly (Kallima inachus)

According to Wikipedia, the Dead Leaf (Kallima inachus) “is a nymphalid butterfly found in tropical Asia from India to Japan.” Its wings are quite beautiful when they are open (see the Gunma Insect World photo below). However, “with wings closed, it closely resembles a dry leaf with dark veins and is a spectacular and commonly cited example of camouflage.”

Kallima inachus at Gunma Insect World.jpg

By 岡部碩道 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Kallima inachus at Gunma Insect World.

Date: 14 August 2010

Kallima inachus qtl1.jpg

By Quartl (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Dead Leaf (Kallima inachus) in the butterfly house of Maximilianpark Hamm, Germany.

Date: 8 August 2011

Lappet (Gastropacha quercifolia)

According to Wikipedia, the Lappet (Gastropacha quercifolia) “is a moth of the family Lasiocampidae. It is found in Europe and Northern and Eastern Asia.”

Gastropacha quercifolia 1(loz).jpg

By Loz (L. B. Tettenborn) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

A Lappet (Gastropacha quercifolia) in Vlasici, Istria, Croatia.

Date: 1 August 2010

Clearly Beautiful: Glasswing Butterflies

According to Wikipedia, adult glasswing butterflies “range from Mexico through Panama and Colombia,” and they “also fly through Florida.”

Glasswinged butterfly (Greta oto).jpg

By liz west from Boxborough, MA (glasswing butterflyUploaded by Jacopo Werther) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

glasswing butterfly

Date: 19 November 2008, 12:08

Source: glasswing butterfly

Greta Oto (Glasswing) Butterfly (6917391571).jpg

By Scott Wylie from UK [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Photo Description:

Greta Oto (Glasswing) Butterfly

Date: 21 February 2012, 13:37

Source: Greta Oto (Glasswing) Butterfly

Sadly, like so many things in life, butterflies and moths are a fleeting delight. The life spans of adult butterflies and moths are surprisingly short. According to the North American Butterfly Association, an “adult butterfly probably has an average life-span of approximately one month.” Some butterfly species live for several months, while others live for only a week or so. Depending on the species, the life spans of adult moths also range from about a week to several months. Those that live about a week or a few weeks do not eat and simply live to mate and reproduce before they die. Luckily, new generations of butterflies replace the old ones quickly, and we can take pictures of them before they are gone forever.


“Butterfly Questions and Answers” – North American Butterfly Association

Diaethria anna – Wikipedia

“Frequently Asked Questions” – The Lepidopterists’ Society

Gastropacha quercifolia – Wikipedia

Giant Leopard Moth – Wikipedia

Greta oto – Wikipedia

Hemaris tityus – Wikipedia

Kallima inachus – Wikipedia

Macroglossum stellatarum – Wikipedia

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